B4 — 24. An Emotional Day

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In the frigid north of a decaying empire, twins Victor and Elara are reborn into a world of magic and danger. Once siblings in the 1940s, Victor, a fierce World War II soldier, and Elara, a woman hiding a tragic secret, now face a new life with memories of their past.

Determined to protect Elara and build a better future, Victor harnesses his wartime skills and knowledge with the gemstone powers of his new world. Meanwhile, Elara, quietly recalling their shared past, becomes the calm force that balances Victor’s fiery drive as she learns what it means to become a lower noblewoman.

Guided by a mentor, an unlikely ally from Earth of centuries past, Victor must seize destiny rather than let it come to him to protect his family. As they navigate political intrigue, secret societies, and the mysteries of their new world, the twins must unite to defend their home, unlikely friends from discrimination, and step into the roles of leaders in a medieval world of magic.

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PoV:

1:  Rhea Everhart (Our Blonde Bombshell Future Supervillain, Who Has A Boyfriend!)


8:33 p.m. October 23rd, Friday, 106 PH (Post Hoopa Event). Day 136.

Events: Rhea and the girls are on a Badge Hunt, trying to get all the Kanto Encrusted Badges before time runs out! Our girl started her journey on the 9th of June, and the end of registration for the Winter Indigo Cup is December 5th (42 days away).

Entering the dojo with a high, Rhea squealed as her Pokemon ran out of the hallway to jump into her arms. Laughing at their chirps, and spotting Lulu already half-sleeping around Alice’s neck, Rhea carefully allowed her little girl to transfer to her.

“Shhh! Shhh… It’s getting late.”

“Pwe?”

“Maw-maw! Maw…”

“Lopunny,” her bunny giggled, handing off the sleepy cloud. “Pun-pun?”

“Mhm. I had a great time with my mom. We’re getting ready to leave tomorrow, so…” she trailed off while waving at a few martial artists who were going out for a late-night run. One redheaded young woman instantly caught her attention. “Grandmaster Terri?”

The redhead smiled and nudged the woman next to her. “I’ll catch up with you in a second, Vista. I’ll only be a minute.”

“Got it, boss. You have a lot of training to get back into shape, so don’t sneak off with your hubby,” the blue-haired woman winked. “You have all of next week for the honeymoon.”

Terri strained a laugh. “And who is the one who runs the dojo?”

“Not you for the last several years, sleepy head!”

The others laughed with the recovering redhead, and figuring the woman wanted to talk, she lingered as the others jogged out of the large open front doors. Terri opened her mouth, only to be interrupted by a roar from the hallway.

An energetic Kubfu dashed out of it, jumping in the air to land in Rhea’s surprised hand. “Terri? Eh-hehe. Lori’s Terri,” she corrected as the fluffy fighter lightly jabbed her cheeks with her hands. “I guess that means Lori’s back.”

“She wanted to join me for a run,” the redhead whispered, scratching her neck. “I’m honored that a Legendary has my name… Can we talk for a second, Rhea? Don’t worry, Ter,” she added at the Pokemon’s furrowed brow. “Why don’t you go meditate outside and stretch out? I’ll be there in a second.”

“Kub!”

Wiggling free from Rhea’s grasp, Lulu lifted a sleepy hand on her shoulder, wishing her friend goodbye.

“Ne-nee.”

“Kubfu!”

“Pwe. Pwe-pwe-pwe.”

Rhea smiled as Nova called her other two teammates to join her, running back to their room to likely inform the others that she was back. Lulu simply snuggled closer to her neck, sliding down to her bust to eventually settle in for a restful night’s sleep; she’d have to move her when changing clothes for the night.

Once they disappeared into the hallway and the little Kubfu went to meditate out front, Rhea turned to Terri, waiting for her to find the right words. The woman sucked in her cheek, playing with the strings on her shorts while looking after the Kubfu.

“So…we’ve been kind of too busy to catch up since…well, you saved me. So, yeah.”

“You okay?” Rhea asked, expanding her Aura senses to analyze the martial artist’s turbulent emotional state. “I get the feeling you’re…struggling.”

Terri sighed, rubbing her neck and looking at her with a far more confident expression, though her Aura showed a shaky foundation. “When you lose several years off your life…you tend to think about a lot of things—things you might have done differently…the time you lost. And, Rhea…I felt weak… I hadn’t really felt like that, and…and I’m going to need a lot of therapy,” she said with a stressed laugh, her mask dropping slightly.

“I just wanted to thank you for what you did for me…for Kyle and me. There’s a lot that I need to work through, but you gave me the chance to work through it.”

Her emotions brightened slightly, and Rhea knew the woman wasn’t well or okay, but she was on the mend. “I’ve lost a lot, but I’ve gained a lot, too. I just wanted to let you know that if you need anything—anything at all, then just give me a call. I owe you more than my life…so much more.”

Crossing her arms before thinking better of it and opening them up, Rhea welcomed a hug from the cracked and healing redhead. “I didn’t do it for any payment. If anything, I want you to live the life you want to have…and spread the love—oh, but be careful of Lulu.”

Tears welled up in the woman’s watery eyes, fighting down the heat in her throat as she moved in for a gentle hug; her muscles were surprisingly solid for how she looked.

“You’re more like your aunt than your mother…but I can sense the strength you got from both of them. You certainly got your father’s charm, though,” she snickered, getting an awkward grin from her.

“Thanks, Grandmaster Terri.”

“Just Terri is fine.” The woman puffed out her red cheeks and rubbed away the liquid falling down her cheeks. “Just know…know that there’s a woman crying tonight, and her whole life has changed…and that is because of you. It’s hard to sleep…but I can sleep. Thank you for making my life right, Rhea. You’ve made me a believer.”

“A believer?” Rhea asked while pulling away, trying not to get caught up in her radiating Aura and emotions, threatening to destroy the dam behind her eyes. “A believer in what?”

“In this life,” Terri whispered, showing a true smile as she hugged herself and looked out toward the front. “Vista’s son died this week… She’s struggling, and I can…I can be there for her because of you. We are all the same…human and Pokemon—our pain and need for comfort. And maybe we don’t know what we’re all searching for…but so long as we can build bonds with one another…I think we’ll be okay. Thank you, Rhea.”

Rhea sniffed, her hot nose burning a trail all the way to her eyes to light the fuse and blow open the dam. She moved in for another hug, her throat far too thick as she mumbled, “I’ll be here if you need to call and talk. If you’re feeling down, then just call. I know every day is a struggle—I feel it—but I feel so many other Auras connected to yours like a chain, holding you fast.”

Terri choked a laugh. “Sometimes this world is too much…but it is those bonds that kept me going in that eternal void…Kyle’s warmth, unwilling to let go of my hand. Thank you for bringing us back together. Thank you for caring enough about a random woman, lost in darkness. You changed my life, and I want to help others now. I want to make things right in this messed up world.”

Unable to reply for several seconds, Rhea held the trembling, powerful martial artist, broken down to a crying little girl in darkness over years of senselessness. Overwhelmed, now that she was free of her torture.

“Ne-ne?” Her chest shook with Terri’s as Lulu popped up to latch onto the woman’s neck, sending her own love and asking where it hurt. “Neee?”

“Aww. She’s adorable,” Terri wept. “Maybe you could change public opinion of Cosmog with this fluffy cheerleader.”

“Nee!”

After a few more minutes of Lulu acting as a doctor, fussing over the emotionally shattered redhead, Rhea got the cosmic cloud back to her shoulder.

“I mean it,” she repeated as the woman moved to leave. “If you need me again, I’m sure Sabrina would be willing to teleport me back to Saffron. Call if you need to chat.”

Terri’s expression softened, brushing back more tears with a pained smile. “I’m always open for a new link to keep me grounded… I wasn’t sure I’d get a chance to tell Kyle I loved him. You gave me that. So, I don’t want to miss any more opportunities like that again. Thank you, Rhea. And I meant it, too. If you need me for anything, I’m here for you.”

“Definitely! We help each other.”

“Your mom must be so proud to have a daughter so lucky…so strong…so kind.”

Throat glued shut, she blinked rapidly to keep from crying and waved off the Grandmaster; it was the hardest thing she could do after those words, especially after the day she had with her vulnerable mom.

“…Have a good night…and a great life with Kyle.”

She stood in the silent dojo for a minute, fighting the quakes that ran down her frame. Terri’s open heart was bleeding from so many cuts, yet she had a solid group of hands supporting and mending her wounds. Even Grandmasters could have trauma and break down. There was a hole in her chest that was slowly being filled with love.

“Ne-ne?”

“Yeah,” she whispered internally to her Buddy Bonded Legendary cloud. “Yeah, it hurts…but it’s a good hurt. We’re golden!”

Flipping on her heels and keeping a smile on her face to carry on the positive vibes, she had a skip in her step while heading to their dojo shared room. She paused just outside of it as her phone vibrated, and she took it out, her heart melting as Jason’s name popped up:

8:53 a.m. Mankey Butt – When darkness turns to light, my Sunshine wishes me good morning with every sunrise. When a bright yellow little spider snares your heart, there is no escape from her gentle zaps that keep it beating. You’ve stolen my heart, Little Joltik, so keep it safe for me. Sleep well, sleep well, sleep well… Sleep well.

Rhea cupped her mouth, fighting back the pressure in her chest as the song Jason linked played—a song he and her father sang by a campfire played in a valley backdrop. It hit her throat like a Thunder Punch, and her cheeks burned as if hit by a Double Slap. It was a KO. It took a few seconds before she could respond with similar quotes from the song he’d used, and longer to type it out.

8:55 a.m. Honey Pot – Just the right kind of sappy. I’ve got Thunder Fangs, so don’t think I won’t bite your heart while you sleep! She’s a merciful jailor, though, so be nice, and maybe she’ll offer you a Sweet Kiss. One can dream! Our dreams assured. So dream. Sleep well… Sleep well.

Rhea’s heart felt like it was going to Explode as she put away her phone, a smile on her lips as she rubbed Lulu’s head and entered the room. Lori and Amira talked inside, the redhead sounding like she was getting ready for bed as Lori was trying to show her the thirst trap photos she’d taken.

“…Yeah, so there are these boys that are obsessed with feet! Check out this engagement—it’s crazy—and look at this one where I used a filter to blow myself up like a big balloon!”

“I’d rather not, Lori—mmgm. It makes my stomach queasy. How many shades did you use?”

“Uh, all of them. Duh! I had to see what one hit the most. The big belly blow-up with the blue Rawst Berry filter hit something different. There is a small but super-invested group here—Honey Pot! Welcome back! Woah, okay—what did Jason do?!”

“Huh?” Rhea lied, trying to act innocent as the tall girl hopped up and practically tackled her, picked her off the ground, and swung her around. “What do you mean? I—oof!”

“Oh, don’t front on me, girl!”

When she set her down, Rhea stumbled back, catching Amira’s critical stare and making her a little self-conscious. “Yeah, you’re hiding something, Rhea,” the redhead noted, taking out her nighttime preparation kit to take to the bathroom. “That glowing red face, goofy grin, and puffed-up cheeks. Normally, I’d say it’s not my business. Not this time. Lori showed me your text.”

“Wha—Lori!”

“What? You need all the help you can get, girl! You’re a total mess! Forget falling head over heels; you’re practically strung up in the stratosphere right now… Gotcha!” the purple-haired girl defended, scooping up Nova as she tried to dart around her. “Hehe. You’re sooo snuggly!”

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“Pwe!”

“Ruff-ruff!”

Lori strained a laugh as she set Nova back down to hide behind Rhea, Roxie chasing her. “No, I know you’re fluffy, too; you just have some sharp edges sometimes. Aww. C’mon, you can’t be mad at her.”

“Rockruff!”

“Pwe-pwe…”

Rhea’s brow furrowed at the pair darting around her, the Rock Pokemon trying to tackle her Eevee. Mya and Alice stood off to the side, arms crossed with conflicted expressions.

“What’s going on with Roxie and Nova?”

Amira pulled out her nightgown and slung it over her arm. “Valid question, but dodging the previous subject.”

“We’ll get it out of her!” Lori reassured, bumping hips with Rhea before bustling over to get her own night items. “Short version, Roxie’s peeved that Nova is leaving for a while to do star work with her parents. She looks up to Nova and sees her as a rival.”

“Ruff-ruff… Ruff!”

“Pwe. Pwe-pwe. Pwe…”

“Rockruff…”

Rhea breathed out the stress compressing her lungs with a laugh. “She’s not going to be gone permanently. Oh, and, uh…my mom is going to bring my next Pokemon egg over on Sunday, after our battle with Erika. Your guys’ are probably Galar Pokemon, but they won’t be ready for a few weeks.”

“Another topic change,” Amira said, putting her hand on her hip as Serenity floated beside her and Amber giggled with Gables in the corner. “Still, some good ones, Rhea, I’ll give you that. We can talk about it in the bathroom as we get ready for bed. Erika leaves early tomorrow if we want to catch a ride with her. Now, what is happening with Jason?”

“And your mother-daughter date!” Lori squealed, jumping up and down. “I’m totally not jealous—totally not! I tried to get my mom to thirst trap with me on the farm, but she had stupid League duties. Cass hasn’t posted anything in like…a week, which is huge for her. Her fans are starting to worry she died, though… Yeah, they’re pretty parasocial already; I texted her to post an update so as not to have anything crazy happen—you know, when you have tens of millions of followers, things can and will get crazy if you stop posting.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” Rhea sighed, moving toward her own bag as Lori danced around her, taking Mya by the hands to spin around with the Mawile, the girl no doubt needing to keep her body moving with the energy she currently had. “My visit with my mom was super emotional and great…then my time with Terri was super emotional…followed by Jason’s nighttime text capping it off. Where should I start?”

Amira and Lori looked at each other before diving into questions as they made their way to the bathroom. The Unovan girl knew that Terri was with Human Terri, and Rhea figured it was the hyperactive Kubfu’s latent power that was making Lori need to keep in motion; their special Pokemon did affect them in unique ways. Amira seemed to be in a humming mood, as well, matching pitches with Mariah.

By the time they’d washed their faces, changed, and finished their nightly routine, she’d gotten through the major points of the day. Obviously, she left certain details about her vulnerable mom out since that was private between them.

She also got an update on what adventures Ambrosia had taken their Pokemon on in Mt. Silver. The Champion took them on a day trip, exploring the lower mountainside. They’d met a bunch of Ursaring, who let them play with their children in some hidden mountain obstacle course—only Nova, Gables, and Amber managed to edge out a win. Alice insisted they cheated, but Nova shook her head behind the pouty bunny when Rhea looked for confirmation.

Jason came up when they settled into bed and turned out the light, and Lori naturally chewed into the subject.

“Okay, girl, that message is gold.”

“Which once?” Rhea mumbled, taking the device back and holding it up for her Pokemon to look at. “And is Terri going to be okay out there training?”

“Oh, absolutely!” Lori laughed off. “She’s having the time of her life. Terri and Terri hit it off instantly. Plus, I figured the woman needs a little minion to take her mind off stuff.”

“Minion, huh?” Amira chuckled.

“Terri is a little minion—a minion of terror! She is so active lately, and it bleeds over to me. I need a certain boy to come back so I can release some of this tension. Ya know what I mean?!”

“Dancing, I hope,” Rhea snickered. “My message?”

“Oh, Jason and you are just adorable together,” she replied, shifting to her side and bunching her pillow under her head. “My opinion? I think your dad wanted to get you two apart for a bit and let things cool down after that show Amira recorded and sent to me.”

“Amira!” Rhea hissed, frowning at the dark side of the room as Alice snuggled closer to her under the blanket, Nova nuzzling her leg. “You took a video of Jason and me singing together?”

“Of course. How are you feeling with him gone?”

Rhea groaned, pulling her blanket up a little more as Mya settled in. “It’s so…weird. So much is going on, but when my brain has time to idle…he just pops into my head. What is he doing right now? Is he thinking about me? Stupid stuff like that. Do you guys feel that way?”

Amira’s soft laughter bled through the darkness. “That’s normal, Rhea. I bet I—uh, Lori doesn’t have it as bad as you right now, but this is your first major relationship. I was just worried you were jumping into too many physical things too quickly. Sappy messages and cute flirting are good for you. Sometimes, when you really fall on your head for a guy, and he falls for you, then you both drop into a pit that can be…not good.”

Lori sank back with smirking eyes as Amira pushed herself off her bed to look at Rhea with a small smile. “I hope you don’t feel like I’m trying to get between you two. Things are really intense with your first relationship. I almost got into trouble with a boy when I was fourteen… I did get into a little bit of trouble.”

“What—you?” Lori asked, lifting an eyebrow. “I mean, me, totally, but you, Red? What happened to him?”

Amira rested her arms behind her head while staring up at the ceiling, a reflective look on her face. “His parents got shipped off to Galar on a big promotion… Yeah, he was the son of a grunt-level employee I met when my grandpa wanted me to work at the base level to understand the business. I’ll say, I didn’t do much work for a couple of weeks during that time, sneaking away with him to the back to make out.”

“Bad girl!” Lori praised. “Who knew Amira was a little deviant like me? And here I thought you were the perfect little princess growing up.”

“Oh, I was,” Amira replied with a short giggle, pulling Amber closer to snuggle. “Well, I was, for the most part. I’ve always been bold and a little rebellious, but that boy made my parents and grandparents do a backflip with how my attitude changed…starstruck love will do that to a girl, and I hated my grandma for shipping him away…for a few weeks, at least. Now, I can see why they did it.”

Lori jumped in after. “Not that she’s saying you two should take some time or anything.”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying,” Amira quickly clarified. “I just think that you should take a few months and feel it out slowly because you already have so much of your lives tied together that it could be a little confusing. It’s a new dynamic between you two. Explore it slowly instead of crashing and burning bridges that might not need to be burned. Enjoy the little things together.”

Feeling better after her friends talked out their concerns, and surprised at Amira’s fourteen-year-old crush that definitely didn’t hit Gossip because it would be front page, for sure, Rhea yawned.

“Thanks, Violet, Ruby…you two are amazing. I have a lot to process with my abilities, our Gym grind, and exploring the world with you guys. I want to pursue this relationship with Jason, too… Do you think they’ll join us?”

Lori pulled Roxie onto her exposed belly to pet, not using her blankets recently. “Len and the boys? Mmm. I don’t know about Len. I think after Kalos, he may go back to Unova. He’s got this thing about proving himself to his mom, so I think he’ll want to find a new team there. I don’t know about Lucian. What do you think, Amira?”

The redhead was silent for a moment before breathing out a long stream of air through her nose. “…I can’t tell you. Lucian really wants to spend time with his mom and dad… Things are starting to change for his family dynamic, and I don’t want to rob him of that or make him choose between joining us or them.”

“Ouch,” Rhea whispered, playing with Alice’s paw under the blanket as a shiver ran down her spine. “I didn’t think about that…that’s rough. Doesn’t he have to make that choice, though? He hasn’t shown up yet. Wow, that’s insensitive. I’m not trying to be mean or blame him, sorry,” she quickly added.

“You’re fine, Rhea,” Amira softly chuckled. “Life is full of surprises, and seasons are always changing. I won’t blame him either way. It’s not like it is the end of the world or he’s closing any doors. It just might not work out, and that’s okay. Anyway, we have an early day tomorrow. Night, Rhea. Night, Lori.”

“Night…”

“Night,” Lori chimed. “Don’t let the Impidimp bite your b***!”

Rhea’s head lifted off her pillow. “Huh?”

Amira giggled, drawing Amber closer still. “Speaking from experience?”

“Yes, actually!” Lori mused. “I could show you the marks; I’ve still got them. Want to see my battle scars from the farmstead? I’ve got this weird cut on my butt I got from sitting on this weird metal thing when I was posing—well, cut is an exaggeration—more like a deep impression. It almost looks like a Geodude, I swear! I took a picture on my phone. Oh. I should have shown you when we were in the bathroom! Tomorrow?”

“Yeah, I’ll pass,” Rhea laughed. “Yeah, we’re so back.”

“Correction,” Amira snickered, “you mean Lori is back.”

“Muk, yes, I am! Night, ladies. I can’t wait to hit the casino tomorrow! The biggest in Kanto and Johto… I’m drooling tonight. Oh, and my birthday is in three weeks—eighteen, baby. I’m glad I waited a season for this whole Kanto thing. Waiting and starting Unova would have been a drag without my girls! Mmm. Jackpot…”

“Aww,” Rhea cooed with Amira, letting the subject drop at that wholesome ending.

Rhea closed her eyes and leaned back, letting her brain relax from all the emotions that had utterly destroyed her throughout the day. Lori was absolutely shameless, and she hadn’t even told them her birthday was coming up.

Also, apparently, Amira had gone further than making out with a guy when she was fourteen. What was that about—second base? There was still so much she didn’t know about her new best friends. It was nice her teammates were worried about Jason and her relationship, though. She had good friends.

Fading into her dreams, warmth spread through her body as her fingers closed around Jason’s, overlooking a big valley of beautiful, dying leaves. She wasn’t jealous of her dad. No, she was jealous. She’d get her turn with her boyfriend, though, and she knew it would be special. For now, she needed to focus on their battle coming up against Erika.


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